Born: 1921, Thetford, Suffolk.
Died: 21st/22nd January 1944; age: 22; aircraft hit and crashed at Dannigkow, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. Jack was the pilot and captain, he had completed 10 sorties for a total of 67.50 of operational hours.
Residence: 33 – 35, St. Nicholas Street, Ipswich.
Rank: Pilot Officer/Pilot; Service Number: 16106.
Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 207 Squadron.
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Cecil James Read & Elsie Read, of Ipswich.
Father: Cecil James Henry Montague Read, born September 1895, Upper Boddington, Northamptonshire. A Newsagent.
Mother: Elsie Read (nee Brooks), born October 1897, Ipswich.
ENGLAND & WALES REGISTER 1939
Jack was living with his parents at their family home – 33 – 35, St. Nicholas Street, Ipswich.
Cecil, a Newsagent.
Elsie, unpaid Domestic Duties.
Probate to Cecil James Read – father, a Newsagent.
21st/22nd January 1944.
Aircraft: Lancaster I, Serial number: R5895, Code: EM-B. The aircraft took off at 20.11hrs from its base at Spilsby, Lincolnshire, visibility was excellent. The target for the 648 aircraft that night was Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, on the Elbe River. As a division 22 Lancaster’s & 12 Mosquitoes bombed Berlin. But the German controllers were not fooled and sent their night fighters to intercept the bombers. The bodies of Jack Read and his crew were recovered from the wreckage and decently buried in coffins in a communal grave at Dannigkow Cemetery, Sachsen-Anhalt. There was no burial service, and no crosses were erected.
Leslie Francis Abel; Sergeant/Flight Engineer; age 21; R.A.F.V.R.
Robert Walter Sharp; Flight Officer/Navigator; age 19; R.A.F.V.R.
Charles Travers; Flying Officer/Air Bomber; age 29; R.C.A.F. (image courtesy of ancestry.com)
Ronald Arthur Blake Boydon; Sergeant/Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; age 21; R.A.F.V.R.
( Image of Ronald courtesy of Kylie Horry)
Ronald Codling; Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner; age 21; R.A.F.V.R.
Eric Clark Clunas; Flight Sergeant/ Air Gunner; age 26; R.A.A.F.
A page from Charles Travers service records reports:
The Missing Research & Enquiry Unit were sent to Dannigkow on the 28th May 1947, F/Lt E.F. Herbert was accompanied by the 56 Graves Concentration Unit and a Russian Conducting Officer for the purpose of exhuming an R.A.F airmen reported to be buried at Dannigkow. Instead of one airmen, seven aircrew were recovered – the crew of Lancaster R5895.
F/Lt Herbert learned that during January 1944 – the evening of the first attack on Magdeburg an aircraft flying away from a target on the eastern side of the city, was hit, probably by a fighter since there were many in the air at the time. The plane crashed in the open on the outskirts of Dennigkow. The local population were all in the ‘bunkers’ so no one could give any more details of the actual happening. The aircraft had burned and ammunition had been heard exploding. Two bodies were found alongside their machine.
The bodies of Jack, Leslie Abel, Ronald Boydon and Eric Clunas were identified by their identity discs. Charles Travers by his officers shirt with collar attached – usually a Canadian trait. Robert Sharp by his officers type shirt with detachable collar normally worn by RAF officers. Ronald Codling by his beret, full name and service number on the shirt collar. A 1 shilling piece was also found on Leslie Abel’s body, which was later return to his next of kin as personal effects.
After the results of the investigation and findings the bodies of the seven airmen were exhumed and identified. They were later interred at Berlin War Cemetery.
The case of R5895 were closed on the 13th May 1948.